Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into effect in 1990 and has helped many Americans since then. The ADA was written to give fair and equal treatment to those who have disabilities. This law ranges greatly from construction to public transportation and employment. Many of these rules were put into place to give individuals in wheel chairs a means to easily access buildings, walkways, bathrooms, dressing rooms and more.
One of the areas you will most commonly see the impact of the ADA is in dressing rooms. ADA compliant changing rooms are usually found right next to the standard dressing rooms in most retail stores. These fitting rooms are specifically designed for customers in wheel chairs and are regulated through section 4.35 of the ADA code.
One of the main tenets of section 4.35 has to do with clear floor space. The floor within the fitting room should be free of obstructions and have enough space for a wheel chair to move about the fitting room. Wheelchairs should be able to make a 180 degree turn after entering through the door and have sufficient space to make the same 180 degree turn upon exit.
ADA changing rooms must also have an appropriate type of door. Most dressing rooms typically have swinging or sliding doors which can also work with an ADA compliant changing room. The key point to note is that these doors cannot swing into the turning space mentioned previously. This typically means that swinging doors need to open outwardly so that the 180 degree turn can still easily be made within the changing room. The only exception to this rule is for changing rooms that have a curtain type opening. Most curtains are typically slid closed and don’t take up much room and aren’t usually in the way of the 180 degree turning space. Lastly, dressing rooms should meet the width requirements of 32 inches for a single wheelchair.
In addition to ADA regulations for doors and size of dressing rooms, benches are also a requirement. The benches used in ADA fitting rooms should be 17 inches to 19 inches above the ground. Additionally, ADA benches should be 20 inches to 24 inches in depth and a minimum of 42 inches in length. Lastly, these benches must have back support which can be as simple as using one of the existing walls of the dressing room.